The Importance of Public Relations

Posted: September 14, 2010 in CMO, Opinion, Public Relations

This post was originally carried in the August issue of Feedfront Magazine, found here. You can download the entire issue here.

Most advertising executives and marketers believe nowadays that a successful public relations strategy can play a vital and ROI-accretive role in their company’s success.

From creating a positive corporate image, to reaching out to influencers within the industry or media, public relations can shape how both internal and external stakeholders view the company.

With the speed at which our communication tactics are changing, it is fundamental that your company’s PR strategy remain current and in line with corporate goals.

In today’s business world, immediacy and transparency are two terms that should be of high importance to company executives. Due to the Internet-created 24 hour news cycle of our society, any news that a company makes—whether it is good or bad—can be spread all over the world in a matter of minutes.

With social media, blogs and forums, consumers and affiliates have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with company representatives to share their thoughts and make their voices heard. This is vastly different from a decade ago when public relations were seen as one-way communication, with the companies controlling the message.

The ability of consumers and performance marketers to engage in conversations with company representatives makes it necessary for companies to be transparent. It can be very easy for advertising agencies, networks and performance-based affiliates to be viewed negatively if they are not upfront about their business practices.

Often, companies that are transparent are more successful due to the trust they are able to foster with their internal and external publics.

That said, just having a solid public relations mindset is not enough. Companies must be willing to speak up about the necessity of setting a good example with their public relations strategy. Because misinformation can be spread so easily, having good relationships with media and trusting stakeholders and affiliates can help companies avoid a crisis situation.

Advertising companies and networks must ensure that everyone—from employees to affiliates—is on the same page. If the employees are unhappy about the direction their company is perceived to be heading, morale and production will drop, and this image manifests itself outside company walls.

But if stakeholders and other external influencers are confident in your company, it will be reflected in your brand’s image and return on investment.

By creating and sticking to a strong PR approach, advertising organizations can ensure that they are communicating quickly and efficiently with affiliates. This communication is important to ensure that everyone associated with the company is presenting a unified message.

With so many Web-savvy people engaged with networks and ad intermediaries, the smallest discrepancy or problem can make news, affecting the company’s brand, as well as its finances.

The bottom line is this: PR is more important than ever no matter where you sit in the online marketing ecosystem.

Mike Sprouse is the CMO of Epic Media Group, where he oversees all marketing strategy.

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